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Panic at your own risk, August 20, 2022
You are a passenger on a ship called the Space Cruiser DONTPANIC. It is just a basic business trip until an alarm goes off while you are asleep. One step outside of your quarters reveals that the ship is in a state of emergency, leaving you with no choice but to go to the control room to radio for help. But ground control has other plans.
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In the control room you learn that ground control has gleefully nominated you to be the first human to enter a black hole. The player than can choose from a short list of outlandish survival options before they are swallowed by the event horizon (that is, the point of no return, where even light cannot escape). For atmosphere, consider looking up NASA’s first picture of a black hole. While I cannot claim that this game is an accurate depiction of what it would be like to fall into a black hole, the concept is still an interesting one to contemplate.
I am giving this game a rating of two stars because there not much substance to the gameplay. It is meant to be humorous and comical, but it does not offer much in terms of interactivity or variation. Initially, I thought it would have been one of those games where each time you die you learn something new that will let you get a litter farther in the next playthrough. However, the game usually results in the same outcome and the player’s choices do not seem to matter.
Most of the endings (Spoiler - click to show) lead to same thing: The player entering the event horizon and watching the first forms of life in the universe coming into creation. There is no explanation as to why ground control chose to sabotage the protagonist, nor is there any mention of any other characters on the ship because the layout of the ship suggests that this was a multi-person ship. There are only (Spoiler - click to show) two other endings: falling asleep after the alarm wakes you up and trying to teleport yourself out of the ship. The second one was probably the most interesting. I could not help but think that it would have been kind of cool to see a CerebroVat in action.
I often like to briefly acknowledge the visuals of Twine games. This one is basic but shows how a few style choices can add some uniqueness. Its appearance is a slightly more stylized than the typical white text and black screen. The text is set in a dark-grey rectangle with round corners against a black screen. Links are enclosed with a slightly lighter-gray rounded rectangle. I felt like this was a nice example of a basic Twine design.
In conclusion, the game may not be particularly substantial, but it still has merits. It is a brief and humorous diversion, and I recommend it to players who enjoy the disaster-in-space genre.